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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

Kayla is an amazing winning athlete – oh, and she has MS

on August 18, 2015

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Although I might be in danger of being accused of sounding like a broken record, absolutely no apology is coming from me.

If you have read the ‘CAN do attitude to life’ page on this website, you will know that my approach to having multiple sclerosis is to concentrate on and enjoy what I can do. I refuse to waste my time regretting things that can no longer be achieved, nor to worry about what the future may or may not hold. It is a matter of doing what you can, controlling what you can and to hell with everything else.

What’s more, it seems that I am in good company as I have recently discovered the following quote on the fantastic Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me website of fellow blogger Willeke Van Eeckhoutte. The quote is from Stephen Hawking, renowned scientist and director of research at the Cambridge University Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, who has motor neurone disease or ALS. He said “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”

On a Facebook page, I discovered the inspirational story of a girl who embodies this undaunted spirit to which all of us should aspire. It is the story of Kayla Montgomery

Kayla is one of America’s best long distance runners but the amazing thing is what she has had the emotional strength and perseverance to achieve – despite having multiple sclerosis.

Now aged 18, it was when she was 14 that MS was discovered. She was then an avid football (soccer to my American readers) player but a fall led to a loss of feelings in her legs – and that was the start of a painful voyage of medical tests ending in diagnosis of MS.

She had to give up contact sports, so she started running and kept running.

At first she had only an average ability and was not very fast – but genuine commitment and a trainer whom she told to push her as far as she could go has led her to great success. Title after title, record after record have fallen to this young lady from North Carolina.

She says that during a race her legs go numb, starting with her feet and working upwards so she feels no pain but, of course, she gets hot from the exercise involved and that is something that all of us with MS know is going to exacerbate symptoms if only for a short space of time.

At the end of each race, as she stops running, Kayla’s legs give way and she collapses into her coaches arms. He carries her off the track and her temperature is brought back to normal using ice and water.

It seems a high price to pay but Kayla is a brave and determined to use her legs as long as she can.

You can catch ESPN’s video called Catching Kayla on You Tube.


4 Responses to “Kayla is an amazing winning athlete – oh, and she has MS”

  1. Wow, what an exceptional and inspiring young lady. Everyone, disabled or not can learn from her.

  2. Scotty says:

    Awesome story, I thought that everyone gets leg weakness after running. I’m learning lots about MS symptoms, I remember leg weakness happening to me as a teen. More recently it has happened after cycling although I never let it stop me doing anything & only ever think about it when it’s actually happening. Now I know why some people look at me strangely when I have get leg weakness or appear drunk (stumbling as I walk). Great blog too..

    • ian franks says:

      Hi Scott
      There’s weakness from exercise and then the extreme weakness caused by MS. That is far worse.
      Talking of you looking as though you are drunk, me too. I once stopped to buy petrol and within a couple of minutes of driving off I was stopped by a police officer who had seen me in the petrol station. Usual questions, have you been drinking? etc, breathalysed but clear (as I had not touched alcohol in months, no surprise there), then asked if I had a problem with my mobility. Top of the class!!
      Being stopped did not worry me though. I’d rather be stopped than a real drunk got ignored.

      • Scotty says:

        I’ve been stopped twice & breath tested after getting out of my vehicle, I wish I could see what they see; I don’t usually notice any difference in myself. I’m with you on drunk driving.. No excuse..
        I wonder what’s classed as extreme weakness.. For the worst was not being able to stand for about 20mins & not being able to walk for nearly 40mins after cycling on a very hot day to work.. I’m so lucky it happens very rarely.. I love cycling.

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